View From Down There: The Back and The Buggy

kid toddler photog seriesWhen you Google the terms “kid photography,” do not be surprised when you see a bunch of images of kids and not photographs by kids: a kid-kid photographer, who takes photographs. I keep track of my children’s development by Googling all sorts of shit yet Google did not tell me what age children know how to take selfies, choose filters, and change shutter speed. All things that my toddler and not-in-preschool preschooler know how to do when they jack my iPhone and leave little kid photog gems. Using kids’ unedited imagination, feel free to see and add your own mini photog’s #viewfromdownthere to show the world through their eyes.

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The grocery store with two kids under the age of four can be absolute horror if you don’t plan your time or aisle routes well. I truly despise grocery marketing tactics when they place brightly-colored sleeves of candy at toddler eye level so I, the already flustered mom with two kids under the age of four, would have to deal with toddler meltdowns. My tried and true strategy has been The Back and The Buggy: one kid in the Ergo carrier, one in the shopping cart.

kid grocery cart pic kid photog grocery shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Here’s where you can view the rest of the series: Kid Photog Series

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How do you run errands effortlessly without alcohol?

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View From Down There: Wake Up, Mama!

kid toddler photog seriesWhen you Google the terms “kid photography,” do not be surprised when you see a bunch of images of kids and not photographs by kids: a kid-kid photographer, who takes photographs. I keep track of my children’s development by Googling all sorts of shit yet Google did not tell me what age children know how to take selfies, choose filters, and change shutter speed. All things that my toddler and not-in-preschool preschooler know how to do when they jack my iPhone and leave little kid photog gems. Using kids’ unedited imagination, feel free to see and add your own mini photog’s #viewfromdownthere to show the world through their eyes.

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Ask GH: I am not a morning person. If I’m not getting up for work then I’m not getting up. No one needs to be up (without pay) so goddamn early in the morning, kids included. My kids are semi-morning people. They will get up but usually let me sleep a little longer. Humnoy will find his Lego blocks and build a Transformer/spaceship/Transformer-spaceship and let me be. My little girl is my little girl for a reason. Lanoy loves to sleep and enjoys the crook of my armpit right along her Mama and we are happy. There are some mornings where blissful sleep drift away like a dream through wide-shut eyes of a 3.5-year-old photog. This is his way of asking for cereal:

kid photog wake up mama1kid photog wake up mamakid photog wake up mamakid photog wake up mama 2 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here’s where you can view the rest of the series: Kid Photog Series

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Who wakes up first in your house?

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Small Town Girl Probs: You Know Nothing About Breakup Etiquette, Jon Snow

How to not break up in a small town by @LaotianComotion
If I do not count my current husband, I have only had two ex-boyfriends with the official label. Like, boyfriend-girlfriend, Facebook-status official, and only three times have I been somewhat committed in such a relationship. Are exes and daters (I hate the word ‘lover’) mutually exclusive? In addition, these other ones were added to the body count but never a status-changer. No, I will not share my number. No, you do not get to make assumptions about me. No, you are not better than me because your body count is one and your husband is a lousy lay. This is just a little story about a small-town girl living in a prudey world and about the likelihood of running into an ex is more likely than anybody leaving the safe comforts of home.

I like to call my hometown Podunk-Bourg(eoisie), where it’s not small enough to have that old-timey flair nor is it large enough to be metro or cool at all. It’s a place where people think they are hotter shit than they really are is what I’m trying to say. A particular ex loved to always remind me for my sake, “Can’t turn a ho into a housewife.” A hometown full of exes, daters, flings, or whatever they’re called and I avoid visiting it like the STD pool the tri-town area that it is. Seriously, what do we call these people? Whatever you call them, I could not get away from them anytime I visited my folks. You especially don’t want to run into them after an awkward split-up: Shitty Wife was a Shitty Girlfriend too. No more awkward than Jon Snow’s reaction in Season 4, Episode 9 with Ygritte. You know you fucked up, right, Jon Snuh.

You know nothing about break-up etiquette, Jon Snow @LaotianComotion

My last official breakup with an Official Boyfriend was so unfriendly because GH became the man he is to me now. I left OB while we were trying to patch things up yet Gym Hottie did get his moniker for no reason at all. Get this: they have the same name and that just blew OB’s gasket and it was an unfriendly departure. Breakup meaning it was a lot of drunk calls to apologize and those apologies were never heard. One drunk run-in at a hometown bar and two years later, he somehow found out I was married and sent me a congratulatory text message and I was shocked. Why reach out now, you bastard? Why bring your petty small mind back into my life as I was 8 months pregnant? It took a good three years later to forget how awful a person that was. How a small baby  was the answer to change all of it. A now mundane, quiet life finally let me forget all about how shitty a partner I “was” when I look at my family, my husband, and my two kids. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a crazy ass ex-girlfriend and will stalk your ass on social media. Can’t turn a stalker into a housewife maybe.

What is proper break-up etiquette anyway?

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Kid Photog: A ‘View From Down There’ Photo Series

kid toddler photog series

When you Google the terms “kid photography,”  do not be surprised when you see a bunch of images of kids and not photographs by kids: a kid-kid photographer, who takes photographs. I keep track of my children’s development by Googling all sorts of shit yet Google did not tell me what age children know how to take selfies, choose filters, and change shutter speed. All things that my toddler and not-in-preschool preschooler know how to do when they jack my iPhone and leave little kid photog gems. Using kids’ unedited imagination, feel free to see and add your own mini photog’s #viewfromdownthere to show the world through their eyes.

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When I had the idea to document what my kid photogs are documenting, I mainly had all Humnoy shots. He would have all these interesting shots of his shoes on the wrong foot or peeping Tom on the neighbor’s balcony. One day, I was winding down as I do at the end of the day to inventory photos and found a low-key gem by the other -Noy.

I love this hilarious cèlfie because it has both GH, Lanoy, and me in one shot going on our normal family happenings: cooking food because we love to eat. Too much actually. Still accurate is how Hum is not in the shot because he goes off into his own world trashing the living room. She was in her usual spot on the floor near our feet scavenging and begging for food as I’m preparing it. It’s usually there or she’s laying down in the oven drawer like she would be in a bassinet.
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kid photog series kitchen celfie~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To see her other hilarious internet picture, check out my Love You Forever post.

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 Here’s where you can view the rest of the series: Kid Photog Series

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Do your kids know how to work a camera?

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The Topic of Breastfeeding in Public Just Got Hairier

@LaotianComotion: How to gymnurstics in public #laotiancommotion

@LaotianComotion says, "I don't care about #breastfeeding in public and you shouldn't either" #laotiancommotion
One of the rare times I was asked to move to another location to breastfeed was actually by my mom. We were at a Lao wedding and she gently suggested for me to go to the bathroom. First, I was like, “Mom, that’s disgusting; this is your grandbaby breathing in air poop particles.” She revealed a bit of embarrassment, if that’s even a thing for my mom, when she motioned to the table of skeezy Lao men behind us (i.e., my dad’s skeezy Lao friends). Second, I was like, “Wait, why would these Lao OGs, who were breastfed by their own mamas in Laos be skeeved?” and then I remembered: ‘Murica.

I find it hilarious how there are U.S. laws to protect the right for mothers to feed without harassment, lawsuits, or jail time. “Yes, we realized society has just recently shamed the natural act of feeding from your breasts so give us a bit to write up these laws so you can face public outcry with vague legal backing.” #Okay. In many other places in the world, there are no such laws that protect the right to bare lactating breasts in public. Why? Because it’s not a big deal. In Laos, I asked my friend Kelly from The Frog & The Moon, who is an American mom living in Laos, about the breastfeeding laws there and she said there were none. Well, of course not. Here in the United States, there are laws abound! I mean, that’s good to avoid jail food while hangry and all but how dumb. Breastfeeding laws are just dumb in theory.

According to National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), “forty-five states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location.” Allow? You allow me to whip my own boob out because my child is hungry while everyone else is eating too? You allow me to respond to a crying child by sticking a breast in there? You allow me to police my own body parts? The following are the examples of breastfeeding in public laws here in Washington:

2001: Breastfeeding in public is not considered indecent exposure. (RCW 43.70, 9A.88.010)

2009: Breastfeeding mothers are protected under state anti-discrimination law, and can breastfeed their children in places of public accommodation such as restaurants, pools, theaters, government buildings, museums, libraries, busses, or parks. (RCW 49.60.030 and 49.60.215)

In almost 40 months of straight breastfeeding between and tandem of two kids, I really have taken the law in my own hands. Please note I have never had an in-real-life incident with harassment with breastfeeding in public. At least not to my face anyway. I have gotten a few head shakes, a lot of stares, and many more quick stare-then-look-aways. It really wouldn’t matter anyway because I actually have the law on my side-boob. Even if the law did not protect me, there are a number of ways of how to nurse in public the right way:

  • Wear a nursing cover.
  • Don’t wear a nursing cover.
  • Use a bottle.
  • Don’t use a bottle.
  • Perfect your bitchy resting face.
  • Don’t be a bitch.
  • Find a room.
  • Don’t find a room; never a restroom because airpoopparticles.
  • Go everywhere with your 6-foot husband, who’d crush anybody for looking at you sideways while breastfeeding the baby in public.
  • Go places without your significant other.
  • Grow long hair (my recent method).
  • Don’t grow long hair.
  • Don’t care what people think, say, do when you are responding to your hungry baby when out living your life in public.
  • Seriously, don’t give a shit.
I’ve actually done all those ways to be comfortable in public because I was a new mom surrounded by jaded society. It wasn’t until I learned one important thing: I’ve lived my life caring about others (my parents, my boyfriends, my friends) thought about me and my body and the only person who should be bothered is the person whose boobs are attached to. If you are modest about the amount of skin you are showing, you have that right. If you live in the bottom depths of Seven Hells and your baby gets too hot under a cover then ditch that thing. If you prefer a quiet spot in a lounge room with comfortable chairs, sit back and nurse. If you just do not give a shit, then go on not giving a shit because you aren’t doing anything wrong. Not only does the law say so, but you do too. I have done all those things because I do not prescribe to one radical be-all-end-all in breastfeeding and I have never had a single problem.
*For a list of your state’s breastfeeding laws, please go check out Breastfeeding State Laws
The one right way to nurse in public #breastfeeding @LaotianComotion

Law’s On Your Side Boob.

*You may share any images from my blog upon the condition you credit/link to thelaotiancommotion.com. I like when you share but love when you acknowledge the creator. Thank you; don’t be a dick.

Breastfeeders and non-breastfeeders: What do you care about breastfeeding in public? Do boobs bother you? Are you modest?

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Texts With #EthnicGrandma: She Sure Goat Jokes

*Update: I have since changed it to #EthnicGrandma on twitter and Instagram since so many of you have the same experiences with your kids’ grandparents.

My mom, the -Noys’ Mae Tao, has learned to text just within the last five years. That’s pretty behind for a part of the 21st technological century but she quickly caught on to typing skills through her Lao-lish. I can see gains in my mom’s texting journey because she’s always had some Lao shade to throw at me. Maybe she is getting payback for me photo-dumping (taking selfies on somebody else’s phone) during my last visit. Her latest text milestone has got to be when she her reactionary pic response in her daily message to the kids:

texts with grandma goat jokes

texts with grandma
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Working With A Photographubby

photographubby

GH’s masterpiece: unfiltered, unaltered withe exception of watermark

There is an unspoken rule of thumb when girlfriends take each others’ pictures: make sure the other one looks good. Us girls know how important it is to look good in the photos because it will go through the Delete-or-Keep Process regardless. I also will not post any unflattering photos of my friends either. Never have, never will. So, now that I do not have the access to like-minded girlfriends anymore, my default photog is my husband.

I thought the model was supposed to be the diva. Why is it that you’d think that asking GH to take some shots of me is like asking him to give up Starbucks for eternity and forever. Complete with an eye roll and an under-the-breath huff, he’s all “one and done.” Don’t he know I gotta get at least 20 snaps before even getting the Female Stamp of Approval? This request is obviously 19 times too demanding. GH has finally warmed up to the fact that I am insisting to be in front of the camera from now on. He just really has no choice but to hop along on the happy wife, happy life train of thought. I’m grateful I have someone who’s passed kindergarten to take these photos I want but I just can’t help but be a little annoyed. It’s an iPhone, sure, but he did such a nice job at the home birth. Come the fuck on.

My photography rules are simple:

1) Make sure I look good.

2) Nobody likes a blurry pic.

3) Make sure I look really good.

4) Don’t make me feel bad for wanting pics taken of me.

5) Make sure I look really damn good.

Is it the photographer or the equipment that’s at fault?

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#MomInFront: How I Want My Children To See Me

how do i look

If I went back far enough, there are a bunch of random photos in my family’s albums. From my grandparents’ journey from Laos to my parents raising us four kids in America, I see a lot of other people and always wondered who’s behind the camera. Why did they take it? How are they related? How were they asked? My dad took a ton of photos of my mom with us it seemed. Never posed but candid ones of us watching TV or eating together. There are even ones of just her and I get to see my mom like I may not have remembered. With all this technology in 2014, I really want to make a point to step from behind the camera and in front.

I don’t care anymore when GH rolls his eyes at me when I ask, “Can you take a picture of me?” With motherhood, I was always embarrassed yet I never had this issue in my party days because liquid courage, amirite? Today, there’s this stigma of if you love yourself then you are conceited, vain, self-centered, and unapproachable. I really am neither of those things at all and would never want my children to think that of me either. In fact, it is the complete opposite if I want myself documented along with my children. In the rare instances I think of my self care, I am more confident, happy, and easy to be around therefore my family will get a confident, happy, and easy-to-be-around mother.

Look The Part This new goal also encourages me with looking presentable. No more un-brushed teeth and/or hair and less yoga pants. (I can’t quit yoga pants.)

Walk the Walk Rather than watching my children in their own world, I instead join them and try to document that best I can. Thank god for front-facing cameras.

Role Model These kids are constantly watching and copying me so I need to be a confident show.

Judging Panel There’s a little debate on makeup in a few parenting communities and I don’t claim that community. Makeup and clothes don’t make the woman but if the woman is happy then who gives a shit?

Creep Audience Not to mention that I will do my best to deter all the internet creeps to not use photos of my kids. If Mama Bear is in it, they might not find much use of it. Nasty ass creeps.

Instead of meekly asking GH, I’m just going to say, “Take a picture of the mother of your children, you fool.” Introducing: Mom In Front.

mom in front theek

GH didn’t catch the “shadow face” memo

Who takes your pictures so you can be in front?

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Should New Niche Stay Or Should It Go?

20140521-000949.jpg

Your typical, average Mom Blogger.

Just within the last month, I ventured into something pretty abnormal for me. It has been lots of fun and I’m teaching myself a lot but I have been hesitant to share it because I don’t know how. Let me rephrase that: I don’t know where* to share it. GH said, “You should make a blog about it.” Wait, why can’t I make the blog about it?

I love this blog. I love it because there’s no one else doing it. It’s not big, it’s not small, it’s nothing but something to me because it is me. It’s all my ideas, experiences, and voice. I make it a point to make sure you know I’m genuine when I share something with you. I’m not here to waste my time by being somebody else I’m not. I don’t want to waste your time to read inauthentic words either. I really don’t know what type of blog I have other than that Lao blogs are very rare as is, especially with a single author with many identities that I … uh, identify with. Since I kind of already renewed the domain purchase so I got to do something here, amirite?

So, what happens if there’s something that is a separate idea? Will it stick out like a random nub on a niche blog? The new adventure I’m on isn’t necessarily All Laotian, All the Time but it’s still me. It revolves around me being a mother and how to be myself while being a mother. So… I still don’t know.

If I were to make a separate blog:
– Too much time. I’m so lazy. And so tired. Lazy, tired mom.
– (Buying) A domain. I’m already shelling out money for this here WordPress-hosted blog and it’s so little freedom as is.
– A new, fresh start on a specific niche, for once.

If I were to add it on this blog:
– It would kinda, sorta fit with the current content. I’m still that Lao mom/wife/blogger/tweeter/bitch-friend.
– It would add more unique content to my site.
– It would save me time rather than devote to two separate blogs.
– It would still leave me as an Uncategorized Blogger because my content is all over the place.

At this point, I’m really too lazy and poor to devote to an entirely separate blog. Although I really do like the idea of a fresh, new blog to chronicle this new adventure and probably more audience-pleasing versus content-driven. Also, I really want to share with you because it’s been really awkward and funny and awesome all at the same time. Hey! Kinda like this blog here.

To fellow bloggers: When do you consider to start an entire separate blog? What criteria has to be met?

To appreciated readers: What would you consider as the niche for what you read here at TheLaotianCommotion.com? Mommy, cultural, lifestyle?

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“Theek Noy” And Other Lao Names Revolving Around Me (As It Should Be)

The first time my grandfather laid eyes on Humnoy, my family’s first great-grandchild was endearingly referred to as “Theek Noy” because of a striking newborn resemblance.” If you’ve been following just recently then you know it literally means “Little Theek.” Also, if you you’ve been following since the very beginning then you’ll know Humnoy is a boy and I, myself, am not a boy. Growing up Lao, I was constantly referred to as some relation to another person. So Game of Thrones of us, right? If my Lao moniker was not used, it was always “Eldest Granddaughter of Khene” or “Eldest Daughter (That Made It To College) of Nang.” It always traced back to an original person that connected the subject of conversation to a link somewhere in the generation. Much like all the sets of parents before me, I am that start of the next generation as it freaking should be. You’ll need to understand pregnancy pain and an annoying spouse to see why.

The kids are still called “Humnoy” and “Lanoy” by close family members but sometimes that is not common knowledge to everyone who hasn’t met them so it’s just easier to call them something entirely technical and less personal. For my -noys, they are called Leuk (Ee) Theek which literally means “Child(ren) of (The Girl) Theek.” The same goes for the other important person tied into all of this: GH. How hilarious would it be if the Lao people called him Gym Hottie like y’all do? lulz. The word for “husband” in Lao is puah and since he’s clearly not Lao, he definitely has his own made-up name. A few have been a little racist albeit still technically correct. Buk Kow literally means “White Boy.” I mean, like I said, accurate.

This has been done for as long as I can remember so let’s see all the names I’ve donned over the years:
Theek Noy Bébé Theek
Leuk Mek Daughter of Mek
Leuk Gkoke (like “coke?” I think) Eldest Child
Mae Buk Hum Mother to Hum
Mae Lanoy Mother to Lanoy

As a Lao parent now, I see it. I see how and why it’s been done this way. I see how it makes much more sense to connect a couple generations in a single conversation. What better and more honorable way to pay tribute to your parents than be forever known as their child? If you’d like to be associated with them, that is. I really feel Westerosian though now that I’ve sat and explained this because I had never ever sat and explained this. I am mama to my babies and my babies are from to their mama. Here are my Theek Noys:

20140518-021815.jpg theek and noys theek noy noys husband of theek

*POP QUIZ* What would GH’s title be as my husband?